Maine’s political landscape received a shock Sunday as Governor Paul LePage held a rare early morning press conference to announce his plan to assume the Presidency of the University of Maine at Farmington when President Kate Foster leaves this summer.
Dr. James Melcher, a political scientist at UMF, said he was originally annoyed when he was called on to come to Farmington for the morning announcement. “It’s Easter, I was supposed to be in Church. Why would I be called in on Easter Sunday?”
LePage defended the timing, saying that he wanted to avoid the news coming out through the rumor mill.
At 10:00 AM the Governor addressed a small crowd out on the warm spring morning. “It’s the first of April, the start of a new month, and a new era for UMF and for me,” LePage noted. “I have accomplished everything I set out to do as Governor, despite some treason within my own party. If Republicans in the state house had stood 100% behind me, we could have done much more.
“However, with elections coming up in November, I’m already a lame duck. I don’t enjoy that. When I heard about the opening at UMF – Congratulations to President Foster, on her appointment as President of the University of New Jersey. I’ll make sure to introduce her to my good friend Chris Christie – I realized that I could still make a difference by helping young people get a quality education.
“My priorities at UMF are simple. First, we’ll ditch the ‘liberal arts education’ thing. Yeah, I know ‘liberal’ here isn’t meant politically, but it’s a loaded term. Rural Maine is working class Maine, and we’ll promote ‘working class education,’ with an emphasis on things that will get you a job. We’ll be looking to make cuts in non-essential programs like the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts. And with all due to respect to Professor Melcher, who has worked closely with Amy Fried, one of the most biased and dishonest voices in the Maine Media, to write on a book that mocked me and other ‘tea party’ governors, well, Political Science is an oxymoron. It doesn’t belong as a subject of study. Also the name ‘UMF’ needs to go.”
Chancellor James Page, reached by phone, was brief. “I’m about to have my Easter dinner,” he said. “The Governor has the power to name himself – it’s a little known and never used part of the University of Maine system charter. I’ll have more to say next week. Happy Easter,” Page stated, sighing heavily before hanging up.
Sabine Klein, President of AFUM, the NEA-affiliated union representing faculty, said LePage will be in for a fight if he tries to disrupt UMF. “The faculty are unified, and ready to strike,” she said. Faculty President Scott Erb, standing next to her, took a more conciliatory tone, “well, we’ll see what happens…I have a sabbatical next spring and I don’t want anything to mess that up.” An annoyed Klein walked away muttering, “what a selfish asshole.”
Student response was muted. “Everyone is just sick,” one student noted. A reporter responded with the question “Because of Le Page coming to UMF?”
“Huh? No, no, no…Those of us not going home for Easter had a huge party last night, smoked a lot of weed and drink mass quantities of cheap vodka. We’re literally, like, throwing up all over the place. Excuse me….” The student, who did not want her name to be used, ran away holding her hand over her mouth.
“Students will like me,” Le Page said. “Yeah, I’ll clamp down on marijuana use – it’s still a federal crime – and students will have to work. I’m going to lay off the custodial staff – students can clean their own dorms and class rooms. We’ll save a lot of money and tuition will drop dramatically.”
Farmington firebrand and ideologue Pency Norter was beside herself with joy. “Finally, we’ll get those stuck up academics put in their place. Governor Le Page won’t put up with that horseshit. Cut their salaries, and make students do their assignments in cursive. These spoiled snowflakes are too dependent on technology. Make them work!”
Le Page finished his comments with thoughts on the future, “I’m looking forward to making UMF a model university, showing that instead of ridiculous ivory tower bullshit like ‘literary criticism, deconstruction, and constructivism,’ we’ll be focusing on business and science. We’ll also have zero tolerance of any political speech on campus. There will be no safe zones, if someone is ‘transgendered,’ we’ll just call them confused idiots. Damn snowflakes need a dose of reality, if they’re acting like spoiled pricks that’s what we’ll call them! And…” Le Page smiled, laughing slightly, “oh, man, I have a surprise that will thrill everyone. My friend, President Donald Trump, has agreed to come speak at graduation. It’ll be a great introduction to the new TUF campus – Trump University at Farmington!”